I recently made a fan post at On the Forecheck (SBN's Predators blog) asking them to tell me what they all thought of Dan Hamhuis. Since it's been a bit slow lately, I figured I'll re-post some of the comments for everyone here.
Commenter Sam Page had this to say:
Strengths: Excellent checking technique…good defensive player…decent speed, can move the puck…has consistently played on PK and against the opponent’s first lines from a young age…durable…disciplined
Weakness: Prone to the occasional awful turnover…not very vocal on the ice and works best with a better, more vocal partner…laughable shot accuracy from the point, will often miss the net by 15 feet.
When I asked him whether he thought Hamhuis was worth $4 million dollars a year, he said no.
Pwnicholson had this to say:
Very good defender, physical checker when he needs to be. Is capable of handling the puck well, but once every 40 times he touches the puck it will go straight from his stick to an opponents in your own zone then straight into the goal. The other 39 times he’ll make very solid plays though. Nothing amazing, but he’s responsible. Good PKer and can chew up minutes if needed. He’ll never stand out unless its a turnover or a big hip check, and you’ll love him or hate him depending on which came last. Otherwise he’s invisible – in a good way. Don’t look for offensive upside or creativity. Just good responsible hockey (except for that 1-in-40 turnover).
I also asked him how much he thought Dan Hamhuis was worth, and he said paying him more than $3.5 million per year doesn't sound reasonable.
Commenter cisar provided one of the more gloomy player summaries:
When he gets the puck on his stick and someone is coming toward him, he can’t make a decision and loses the space to make a pass or a move and then it is too late – turnover in own zone. He has a great hip check, which he rarely uses. Like what was said before in thread – don’t bet on his blue line shot. He generally doesn’t let people get behind him on d, but he can’t move people on the boards or away from the front of the net. He does not get angry, which can be plus or minus ( I take it as a minus ). His best asset is that he gets in the way, and usually keeps the star player from having an unimpeded route to the goal. Plays his best when there is no forecheck bearing down on him. I think he is worth $1.75 -$2.4 million a year, and I am glad we traded him. He will never be first line d. He could be the weak one on 2nd line d.
In Dan Hamhuis, the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired a player who does just about everything well, but nothing great (well, except for that hip check…). ‘Hammer’ is the perfect example of team player. He’ll adapt to whatever situation he’s placed in – whether it be the power play, penalty kill, or minute cruncher.
Perhaps the best way to describe his playing style is that of a combination between Predators Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Hamhuis is lighter and less physical than Weber, but a better skater and passer. On the other hand, he’s a better hitter than Suter. Obviously, he’s not in the same category as the Predators’ defensive Olympians, and this comes back to being good at everything, but excelling at little.
His greatest strengths lie in the ability to break a stifling forecheck with his puck movement, or shut down an opposing team’s top player as he did many times with Nashville (Barry Trotz typically played Dan in the toughest spots, leaving Suter and Weber to carry the offensive load). Hamhuis’ weaknesses are in the incredibly frustrating mental lapse, such as a horrible defensive zone turnover or failure to communicate with his defensive partner, which was a common occurrence with Kevin Klein in 2009-10.
At his best, Dan Hamhuis is a top pairing defenseman with the ability to play 23:00 or more a night and in special teams situations. At worst, he’s a solid 2nd pair player prone to mental lapses. What you usually get is somewhere in between. Either way, the trade looks on the surface to be a Philadelphia win. Dan Hamhuis was/is the most coveted defenseman on the market in 2010, and with good reason.
Overall, it seems like Hamhuis is an above average player who's entering his prime, and he's definitely one of the better UFA defensemen on the market this year. If the Pens are able to ink him to a contract in the upcoming days, I'll take a deeper look into what Hamhuis offers.